To me a workout is successful when I achieve results. This is probably no different than anyone else.
But beyond tht there are a couple of other things that constitute a successful workout. And these are workouts that are safe and quick.
I don’t want to get hurt when I workout. And I and want to be in and out of the gym as quickly as possible.
Because when you think about training is a means to an end. We train to look better, feel better and perform better. Sure I enjoy the process but for me it’s more about the end goal. I’d rather get in great shape for skiing in less than an hour and enjoy the rest of the day on the hill than spend hours on end wandering the gym room floor.
That being said here are 6 Tips for Safer, Quicker Workouts.
Tip #1 – Load the plates the correct way
Weight plates usually have two sides. One side is smooth with nothing on it and the other side is slightly hollowed out and has the numbers printed on it. When you load the plates on a bar make sure you position the smooth side facing out.
This side faces in.
Why is this important?
For two reasons. The first is that when you unload the plate you can wrap your fingers around the edge of the plate so that there is no risk of it falling on your toes. Secondly, the collars to secure the plates fit better on the smooth side of the plate.
Tip #2 – Set the bar to the lowest height
This tip applies when working out with someone else particularly in the squat rack. It may seem rather obvious but you’d be surprised the number of times I see people mess this up.
Imagine a guy 6’2″ and a girl 5’7″ doing squats. The height of the bar should be positioned so that it is set for the shorter person. It is much easier for a tall person to squat a little bit to unrack the bar as opposed to the shorter person finishing their set and getting up on their tip toes to rack the bar.
Tip #3 – Load the smaller weights first
This tip applies as well when training with someone else. Or it works also when training by yourself and performing two sets with different loads.
Imagine again our guy and girl from above doing bench press. If the guy works with 225 lbs and the girl with 95 lbs this could mean a lot of changing the weights between sets. And typically the guy likes to think he knows his way around the weight room and will take the lead in loading up the bar.
So this guy puts 2X45 lbs plates on each side of the bar to make up 225 lbs and does his set. Then he stands up and takes off the 2X45 lbs plates and replaces them with a 25 lbs plate on each side. And this is done for every set the couple will do.
Instead they should make up the girl’s weight first by placing the 2×25 lbs plates on the bar. Then a 45 lbs and 2X10 lbs plates can be added to each side.
Doing it this way involves less lifting in between sets and so more energy to put into your lifts not changing weights.
Tip #4 – Putting on/Taking off collars
Some people really struggle with putting on and taking off collars.
It doesn’t have to be that hard. The easiest trick I can share with you to place one hand at the end of the collar where you will squeeze and one hand on the collar at the bar.
As you squeeze the arms of the collar together with one hand slight the collar along the bar with the other.
Tip #5 – Setting the bar for bench
When you set up to bench make sure the bar is position as close to your chest as possible. You still only want your eyes under when bar when on the bar. But some racks, especially if you’re training in a power rack, allow you to roll the bar towards your chest a little bit.
Doing this reduces the amount of distance you move the bar horizontally upon lift off. This makes for a safer and energy saving start to your lift.
Tip #6 – Setting up with dumbbells
I’m always amazed at how cumbersome people can make working with dumbbells look. As they try and position the weights to the starting position they shift and change their set up so much it must be hard to maintain focus. And this doesn’t even consider the demands put on the training partner as a spotter.
Instead here are a couple of tricks I use that work for me. Feel free to incorporate them into your workout.
i. When doing a seated vertical press start with dumbbells balanced on the ends on your thighs. Position them closer to your knees than your hips. Let your spotter know when you will start then kick up each knee one at a time to bring the dumbbells up to your shoulders.
ii. When doing supine (on your back) presses start seated with the dumbbells on your thighs but closer to the hips than than the knees. Let your spotter know you are ready and then lean back while bringing the duumbbells to the starting position.
With both of these methods try them first with a spotter and keep the dumbbells in tight to the body.
Well there you have it. 6 Tips for Safer, Quicker Workouts. And when you think about it if your workouts are safer than you are staying healthy and not getting injured. And if you can do more work in less time you are going to get better results.
So look to incorporate these tips to extract better results from your workouts.
Chris okanaganpeakperformance.com ‘always moving forward’